Australia will ban the import of non-prescription vapes or e-cigarettes, including those without nicotine in them.

    The move follows an inquiry into vaping from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and will be rolled out as part of the forthcoming budget by the Albanese Government.

    Under the new laws, the Government plans to stop the import of non-prescription vapes, increase the quality standards for the vapes available in Australia, and force manufacturers to use unemotional, medical packaging.

    Vapes are everywhere, from bars and clubs to inside the cars of commuters (insert WRX joke here – Ed.) Is it currently legal to smoke behind the wheel?

    • Smoking a cigarette while driving is not illegal in some circumstances
    • Some states have strict laws on smoking with kids in the car
    • Throwing a lit cigarette from car can attract an enormous fine

    Currently you are allowed to smoke in your car if you’re not a minor, and aren’t carrying a minor.

    New South Wales

    In New South Wales it’s illegal to smoke in a car carrying anyone younger than 16. Anyone caught breaking the rules can be hit with a $250 fine on the spot – both the driver, and passengers.

    The maximum penalty is $1100 if your case ends up in front of a magistrate.


    It’s illegal to smoke behind the wheel if you’re carrying someone younger than 18. The maximum fine is $826.


    It’s illegal to smoke behind the wheel if you’re carrying someone younger than 16.

    It’s also illegal to smoke behind the wheel of a vehicle being used for business that’s carrying more than one person.

    South Australia

    South Australian law says it’s illegal to smoke when anyone under the age of 16 is present in a car.

    Fines stretch to $750, although you’re able to pay a $105 fine (or Expiation Fee) if you admit wrongdoing.

    Western Australia

    You’re not allowed to smoke in a car, riding a motorcycle, or while riding in the back of a ute in Western Australia.

    Smoking in a vehicle when someone younger than 17 is present will see you hit with a $200 fine, which can be upped to $1000 if the matter ends up in court.


    Tasmania was the first state to ban smoking in cars if a minor, defined as a person younger than 18, is present.

    You can be hit with an on-the-spot fine, although a magistrate can whack offenders with a $2400 fine if the matter ends up in court.


    It’s illegal in the ACT to smoke or vape behind the wheel on the road, or in a road-related area, if anyone younger than 16 is present in the car.

    The laws came into effect in 2012, and if you challenged the on-the-spot fine ($250 at the time), you could have been fined $5500 if found guilty in court.

    Northern Territory

    You can be fined for smoking, vaping or using an e-cigarette in a “motor vehicle when carrying passengers under the age of 16”. 

    You could face an on-the-spot fine of $298, which could grow to $2980 if you challenge it in court.

    Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.

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    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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